The Death of the Energy Vampire
Written By: Matt Mignona
There are two things you must know about energy:
- You have the power to make or take the energy of those around you.
- The people around you have the power to make or take your
Those are scary thoughts. That much power is scary. Being powerless to those around you is also scary. And that's why it's critical that you're aware of your energy at all times.
But first, what are energy makers and energy takers? Let's start positive.
- Walk into a room and radiate light and positivity
- Freely compliment those around them
- Give of their time and resources to better their families, workplaces, communities, and world
- Encourage others to do hard things
- Are waiting with a high five when you accomplish something big or small
- Transform negative conversations into positive ones
- Challenge you to think outside the box when you're stuck in a negative-thinking cycle
- Empower you without judging you
- Demonstrate true resilience: they appear to be positive on even the worst, most horrible, no-good, very bad days
- Do the right thing, even when no one is looking
- Go out of their way to spread kindness and grace
Energy takers (also called energy vampires):
- Whine and complain, even when there's nothing to complain about
- Never seem satisfied; the company could announce paid birthdays off work and they would gripe because they want to use it for an extra day at Christmas but they're only allowed to use it on their birthday
- Perceive minor inconveniences, like a flat tire or a rainy day, as the worst possible life event to plague their morning; may describe a burned biscuit from the Hardee's drive-through the same way others describe pancreatic cancer
- Seem to be satisfied when others fail or feel threatened or annoyed when others succeed
- Often feel victimized by circumstances, like the only possible explanation for their acne breakout or spilled coffee is that the world is out to get them
- Love to gossip; their ears perk up and they drop what they're doing when they hear a juicy rumor or a "good" conversation get started
- Handle insecurity with defense, leaving those around them to walk on eggshells for fear of setting them off
- Crush your dreams; when you say something positive, they counter with something negative like, "Well maybe she did leave that $500 under your keyboard but you know she just did it to look good" or "Maybe they did nominate her for employee of the month but they only did it because they're scared of her."
Please note: energy takers are not bad people. They're people who haven't learned how to drive their energy bus on the road they want to be on yet. They're usually good people who have fallen into a bad (but natural-for-all-of-us) habit of focusing on the unfortunate events and circumstances that impact our lives.
How to Deal with Energy Takers
Above all else and before anything else, show them love. Energy takers aren't energy takers without cause. They're energy takers because they're dealing with some tough stuff and/or they don't know any better.
And they won't know any better if you aren't the light they need to see.
Step 2: Enlighten and empower.
We wrote a great article on using the Jedi mind trick to shift a negative culture to a positive one using only yourself and the tools and resources available to you: communication, demonstration, compassion, etc. The tools in that article can help you come up with clever, non-judgmental, non-assertive ways to redirect negativity to positivity without ever confronting anybody or putting your job or friendships on the line.
You can also share the book The Energy Bus with those you feel could benefit. The message when you share about this book should be positive.
Instead of this:
"Hey, you've been a real stinky sock lately and hanging out with you is a real buzz kill. I'm crossing my fingers that this book will alleviate your horribleness."
"Hey, it seems like you've been struggling lately. This book helped me a lot, so I wanted to share it in case it helps you, too. I'm feeling better than I've felt in a long time."
Most importantly, set an example by the way you live. Be kind. Be positive. Refuse to participate in negativity. Compliment those around you. Encourage and empower others. Forgive. Brush off inconveniences. Be grateful. Be a light.
When step 2 fails: let them off the bus
Not everybody is on the same journey we're on. Some people don't get it, won't get it, and don't want anything to do with it. They're negative and apparently (although we doubt it), they like it that way.
If that's the case, it's time to let them off the bus. At work, if you're in a position of leadership, that might mean letting somebody go. If you're not in a position of leadership, it might mean reevaluating your own career and choice of employer and work team.
Personally, it might mean severing ties with a friend or even a family member.
Step 3ish: draw a line in the sand
If you're forced to be around energy vampires, ask yourself what Gandhi would do. His answer was simple: "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."
Choose to protect your mind from negative energy at all costs by maintaining control over your internal dialogue.
How to become an energy maker
If you yourself are energy vampire (step 1: determine whether you're energy vampire), you are not destined to a life of vampirism.
You can become that person. The one who walks into a room and lights it up. Here's how:
- Create a more intentional and positive life. Start with the Happier Mind Journal. In the Happier Mind Journal, you will follow a specific framework to become the best version of yourself and the most positive and happiest version of yourself.
- Seek out resources that feed your soul. Read books, join online groups, and participate in activities that empower you, enlighten you, and support your growth and development toward energy-making.
- Surround yourself with energy makers so you can be fueled instead of drained. Choose friends, partners, and employers who radiate positive vibes.
- Recognize your internal dialogue. Many people think the dialogue (that droning narrator you hear in your head; if you can't find it, listen for nagging and complaining) is who they are, but the truth is that the dialogue is simply words that hold a tremendous amount of power. You can control those words anytime you want and the first step is listening to them so you can separate yourself and replace them with words that support your mission.
- Journal every single day and keep it structured. Focus on what you want to achieve (in this case, positive thoughts, words, and actions) and what commitments you're going to make to get there. Revisit your journal at the end of the day to evaluate your success toward those goals and consider how it made you feel.
- Find an accountability partner in the places you spend the most time. Ask your kids, spouse, coworkers, and friends to remind you if you get stuck on repeat in diaper-baby mode (you know, whining and complaining and throwing temper tantrums). And then accept their reminders gracefully and gratefully so that they aren't afraid to keep you accountable next time.